This is just a note to express appreciation to Sondra Lozier and the volunteers for all the hard work, long hours, and dedication it took to put together the bus tour from LaGrande last Saturday, Dec. 7. In previous years it has been the Observer that has sponsored the bus. We who are in the retail business community of this county truly appreciate out of town shoppers, be it tourists or just over the mountain visitors. We all know it takes more people than this valley has to keep our businesses alive.
Season of peace
Our little family is new to your community here and we are grateful to be here - not only in such a beautiful place, but among such kindhearted people with incredible integrity.
It will be a personal humble challenge to rise to this wonderful and human occasion to meet you with the same.
Which brings me to the point of this letter: domestic violence. I know, I know, I butter you up, then I drop two words like that. But I want to tell you all about a couple of really cool, wonderful, exciting things happening around this subject.
First, be on the lookout for the letters "MVP." Not only do they stand for Most Valued Player, but also "Men for Violence Prevention." It takes more than a little courage to don these letters in a world where women are beat around the clock around the world to submission, depression and death (and this capacity for violence exist in every human heart).
The second is a free and festive wing ding sponsored by Safe Harbors happening at the Wildflower Bakery in Joseph on Friday, Dec. 20 starting at 6 p.m. It is a Celebration in Hope of Peace in Our Homes - featuring several talented local musical artists. So, come stop by with your family for hot cocoa and listen to some really great music with friends - and enter this Season of Peace in peace.
M. D. Hunter
On March 31, 2002, I trespassed into Troy Thompson's home and assaulted him. I did not know that his children, Trenton and Trevor Thompson, were at home, and witnessed the assault.
Troy Thompson has never done anything to hurt me or my family, and I can only offer my sincere apology and deepest regrets that such an act occurred. No one deserves to be victimized by violence, but as in many cases, alcohol was the catalyst.
That Trenton and Trevor Thompson witnessed this act of violence troubles me deeply, as this must be traumatic and frightening to them. I would have apologized immediately, but I did not want to cause any more pain and suffering, nor did I want to violate the law any more than I already had. I am truly sorry.
I don't know if I can do anything directly for the boys, but my efforts and involvement in the community have been redoubled. My past association with Safe Harbors, and continuing involvement with the Wallowa County Tae Kwon Do Academy have shown me what effect violence can have on a person's life, and the end result of this terrible thing.
I was a probationary black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but this honor was stripped from me immediately after the incident. I have had to apologize to the entire class, especially the preteen and teenage students.
Suffice it to say that one night of alcohol induced anger, and my actions that night has adversely affected every positive aspect of my life. I also owe apologies to my wife and my family; Dean Metcalf and the Tae Kwon Do Academy; and the entire community. I want to apologize to all the people who trust me to come to their homes and businesses to work. I am truly and deeply sorry for my actions.
My punishment was and is 36 months probation, ten days in jail, drug and alcohol treatment, $1,169 in compensation and fines, and this letter of apology.
I am grateful and proud of our men and women serving in the military to ensure our freedom and I am encouraged by the positive results we are already seeing under President Bush's leadership. He recently signed a bipartisan defense budget that provides the resources our troops need to fight the war on terror. This bill boosts military pay and provides for long overdue upgrades to military facilities and living quarters. Also funded is advanced weaponry that will give our troops every advantage over the enemy, be it terrorists or madmen with weapons of mass destruction.
We must never forget the profound sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made in this time of war. Congress and the president should be commended for giving them the tools they need to defend our country's freedom.
Bill and Lori Ralph
Deer Park, Wash.